You might remember Anjali from our Snehotsava blog. She and her friend Veda organized a fundraiser, which means “festival of love”, for Sahasra Deepika back in February. Here’s a question-answer with Anjali, who’s only 16 years old but wise beyond her years.
How did you first get involved with Sahasra Deepika?
When I expressed an interest in volunteering, my family suggested Sahasra Deepika, where I began conducting dance classes for the girls.
Who came up with the idea for Snehotsava?
I think this idea came up during a conversation between Vaishali Aunty (Sahasra Deepika Trustee Vaishali Khandekar), Vandana Aunty (Veda’s mom), and my mom.
As a young woman, what does it mean to you to encourage these girls?
As a young woman, I believe strongly that every girl should feel confident about herself. Since these girls come from difficult backgrounds, it’s all the more important that they learn that as long as they believe in themselves, nothing can stop them (however clichéd that may sound). Dance contributed enormously to my self-confidence. I have learned to let go of my inhibitions and stand on a stage with a hundred people staring at me. I figured that by teaching the girls dance, I could maybe instill some of that confidence in them too.
What would you tell others who may be interested in supporting an organization like Sahasra Deepika?
Everyday when I went to Sahasra Deepika, I returned inspired because the girls are so joyful and content. I think everyone should have a chance to experience that. I also think that, since we’ve been blessed with financial security, it is only right that we give back something to society.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves—how did you get involved with dance?
I’m a 16 year old, studying science at Kumarans-CBSE. I aspire to be a doctor and I’m an avid reader and debater. When I was four, my mom enrolled me in Kathak classes. I was terrified. I spent about a month just sitting by the side and observing everyone else dance. I was slowly coaxed into trying a few steps and soon I was giving performances. It’s been a fantastic journey and I couldn’t be happier about being able use my hobby for a cause.
Anything else you’d like to share about this experience?
I guess all I can say is that I’m so grateful to have been a part of this. It’s been so wonderful getting to know the girls- dancing with them, helping them with homework and just creating memories. Dr. and Mrs. Ramakrishna inspire me everyday because of their dedication and benevolence. And a huge thanks to everyone who attended and helped with the program.